Is AP Psychology easy?
It's not the hardest course, and you might already know that! Last year however, the passing rate had decreased - but it is widely discussed that it may have happened due to COVID factors, and other COVID implications. This year, things are back to normal, and it is important to note that the average score for AP Psychology over the years is quite high, compared to other AP exams. So you can score a 5 without much difficulty.
Is a 5 really necessary for AP benefits?
The short answer to this question is, not necessarily. However, the higher your AP score, the more chances you will have get once you enter the admissions procedure.
Each college uses AP Exam scores in different ways, so you will have to check each website to determine how scores can be converted. But in 9 out of 10 times, the following three criteria usually turn out well if you get a high score:
College Credit - The granting of college credit does look into how well you scored on an AP Exam.
Excemption - Colleges might allow you to be exempted from certain requirements if you do well on an AP Exam, even if they do not give you actual college credits.
Admissions - A good grade will help you more, needless to say. However, even if your AP Grade is not too high, colleges respect the fact that you were willing to push yourself to take AP courses outside of your regular curriculum. The higher level of mastery you need for AP Exams will always be taken into account to ensure minimum barriers for you during admissions season.
What are 5 methods to get a high score?
1) Know the psychological perspectives
This is key, and is one of the easiest ways you can ensure you learn all the basics in the shortest amount of time. Psychological researchers study cognition and behaviour based on a rather broad category of nine contemporary perspectives. Study the main theoretical framework of these perspectives, so you are good to go for both sections.
Each perspective contains key research methods, concepts and terms to encircle human thought and behaviour - getting to know these perspectives is the simplest, and fastest way for you to understand psychological theories very quickly, especially if you are a bit short on time.
2) Know the key terms
There are specific terms for each concept, and it always helps if you can mention the key terms in order to propel your answers with accuracy. Using these terms are not considered jargon, and you must not simplify your answers too much by avoiding these terms.
Make sure you grasp the specific, scientific meanings of psychological terms. This is especially useful for the multiple choice section as well, which will explicitly test your knowledge and application of psychological terminology.
3) View psychology as a science
When referring to psychological methods, keep in mind that psychological researchers use the scientific method to gather data for the theory and foundation of their hypotheses. They also use actual empirical methods of inquiry, such as experiments and observations. Have no doubt about this for your AP exam - psychology is a science!
As an AP student, your understanding of the different research methods, the types of statistical data, and necessary ethical guidelines established by the APA (American Psychological Association) is vital, so you can score a 5 through your technical knowledge of the psychological method.
4) The way you apply your knowledge
The two important criteria assessed in AP Psychology are: 1) your knowledge and understanding of the concepts, and 2) your ability to implement your knowledge through application.
The Free-Response Section especially, requires you to not just define key terms, but to apply them to the scenario you will get, or to make connections (through comparisons or contrasts) between multiple concepts.
Keep in mind that the AP Psychology exam is not going to measure your writing skills or your use of language, while you are writing for your free-response questions. Write clearly and concisely without overusing the key terms, and explain everything adequately while revealing clarity in your concluding statements.
5) Keep consistent study habits
You've been a student for many years now, so you don't need my advice on how to keep an effective study schedule. However, while you're exploring AP Psych, you can always effectivly take some tips from cognitive psychology to amp up your own study methods, for example:
Memory research indicates “distributed practice” is much more effective than “massed practice”. With massed practice, you would be cramming different areas of study together without fully allowing yourself the time to get to understand them properly.
Might as well take practical application seriously! So ideally, you can space your study content a bit loosely, taking up a full week or so to cover each topic, individually.
A good study plan for AP Psychology
The Multiple Choice section of your exams will be focusing on the 14 main areas of Psychology, which are usually taught very explicitly in the coursework.
It will always be good if you have an idea of how many times each topic will approximately be tested in the exam, and get an idea about the topics that appear more frequently than the others. Check the table below containing topics that are tested the most.
Make sure to review these topics one-by-one, and find a balance between, 1) how well you know each one, and 2) how frequently it might appear in the exam.
In this way, you can create a study plan that focuses on your specific needs, and it will also be based on the amount of time you will have left for the examinations. Good luck studying!
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